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Garden with Insight v1.0 Help: decay

Decay is basically the dissolution of complicated molecules and structures into simpler forms. When plants decay, the cell walls and nuclei of their cells come apart and the proteins break down. When plants senesce (grow old), some parts of their leaves start to decay and often fall off (absciss). Decay describes the breakdown of animal and plant matter that is already dead as it is eaten by soil microbes (and they in turn die).

In this simulation there are several processes of decomposition leading from live plant tissue to standing dead plant matter (dead but still standing), to mulch (lying on the surface of the ground), to flat residue (flattened into the ground and a little decomposed), to organic matter or humus (partially decomposed), and finally to the mineralization of humus to mineral forms of carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus (though mineral carbon is not kept track of).

How it works:
carbon cycling

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Updated: March 10, 1999. Questions/comments on site to
Copyright © 1998, 1999 Paul D. Fernhout & Cynthia F. Kurtz.